Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hey 'oldies,'---let's go flatting!

So you are approaching the magic age (for now!) of 65 or maybe you are a great deal older. Perhaps you have recently lost a loved one and facing the prospect of living alone after all those years with a partner who you loved but sometimes drove you nuts. Albeit, you just don’t want to live on your own. There are plenty of options out there re ‘retirement villages,’ most of the ones you would consider to be ‘your style,’ are just out of your range, financially. The last thing you want or those kids who live overseas or way too far away to be of any constructive help to you in your twilight years, is to move into some of the residences within your price range, but just don’t stack up. You have read the Herald reports on some of them and you know that the ‘carers’ who work in them are underpaid and overworked. There’s got to be a better way.
You cast your mind back to your youth and remember your student days. If you were in your late teens or early twenties in the 1960’s ‘flatting’ became the thing to do. Are you smiling as you remember the parties and the terrible cooking and less than appropriate cleaning standards? Perhaps your flat was better organized and maybe you have conveniently forgotten the ‘down side’ of that precarious existence, but a twinkle has just appeared in your left eye; the right one trys to maintain a balance as to how it really was.
Today you read the article in the NZ Herald about flatting for ‘oldies,’ and you start to wonder. Is this for me? Could I possibly throw away that dammed tendency to ‘have things my way?’ Could I revisit those crazy halcyon days? Do I in fact need to?
 Well, no you don’t but in a sense you can. Sure the late nights may be driven more by insomnia than the need to ‘party up big time, and the ‘flatmates probably won’t be quite as ‘pert’ as they were in the old days and your taste in TV programmes reading and all the other aspects of your lifestyle will not be the same, but you still have an intense interest in life. Hey, we all change and now that you have seen much of life, perhaps you can make an accommodation and find a way of living with a group, in a semi-controlled fashion, with the back-up of a nice young man or woman who gets rent a bit cheaper and who is around at night when so many oldies worry about security. Such a person could also be quite handy at reaching for the light bulbs and a few other monotonous tasks that you don’t fancy anymore.
Is flatting for the oldies a viable solution to the growing need to look after our elderly? Why not. Get the formula right and have the appropriate support handy and it could well solve many issues for us oldies. Company is assured and flexible, depending on the level of contact one would like. IT would be good for the community as a whole, not to have vast numbers of older people locked away in huge retirement villages that for all purposes are ‘gated.’ The examples are out there and they are going to grow as people chose to live with others similar to them, but not isolated from one another; just choosing to have their own space if and when they need it. Financially, it is a good option; one that would cost the taxpayer less than some existing models.
I say---go for it and check it out. There will be many variations on the theme and life is too short (especially at the plus 65 level) to worry about paying exorbitant fees to some profit orientated business that may or not meet your real needs. Jeeze---have I just put myself in the category of those who are thinking about their more advanced   years?